A shaky alibi and a $400,000 insurance plan made Melissa Oxley a prime doubt in she husband’s brutal shotgun murder.



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In police audio, Melissa Oxley claims she woke up after feeling something hit her head and also smelling gunpowder. She defines she rotate to her husband — only to establish he was shot.


“It’s really, really bad!” was exactly how Melissa Oxley, in a 911 call, described the shocking scene at her residence in Minden, Nevada in the beforehand morning hrs of February 21, 2008. Her husband, Ben Oxley, had actually just to be shot to death while the slept.

Melissa woke up ideal after listening a sound she ultimately realized was the shotgun blast that killed the man she’d married 2 years earlier in a wedding the was a 2nd chance at love because that Ben. The tied the node before and also had a daughter, Alyssa, of whom he had custody, but the marriage ended in a less-than-amicable divorce. 

Covered in Ben’s blood, Melissa make the desperate speak to for help. “It was among the more horrific scenes i’ve seen,” Douglas county Sheriff Jon Storke said “Killer Motive,” airing Saturdays at 6/5c on occupychristmas.org.

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It quickly came to be a step riddled with concerns — chief among them: How can Melissa claim not to have actually heard a thing given that she was just inches far from she husband when he was killed?


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Ben and also Melissa Oxley
As police searched the Oxley home, they found shotgun ammo in the bedroom the Melissa’s teenaged brother, Craig, that lived v the couple. They additionally turned up tools in the garage. 

Minutes into the case, over there were two suspects.

When doubted by police following the slaying, Melissa described to investigators that she to be a an extremely sound sleeper, yet that appeared unbelievable. Meanwhile, in an interrogation room under the hall, Craig was grilled around the shotgun shells. 

Despite Melissa and also Craig’s denials the wrongdoing there was also much evidence to release them, follow to “Killer Motive.” The siblings were given a gunshot residue test the would present if either of them had actually recently fired a gun. The test come up an adverse for both. 

Melissa permitted her 6-year-old stepdaughter, Alyssa, to it is in gently questioned by police. The girl told them that she’d heard a door creak and also saw a figure in she house however didn’t recognize if it to be a male or a woman. 

At the point, Melissa claimed a former friend of Ben’s ex-wife, Dawn, could be a possible suspect. Dawn’s ex had a record and also was stated to have actually not been happy with the method Ben was treating Dawn. However, investigators determined that he was the end of town at the moment of the slaying.

When police visited Dawn’s home to talk with her around the homicide, she said she and also her existing boyfriend, James Matlean, had been together all night watching movies and drinking. Their alibis appeared to check out. 

While Alyssa had actually gone come live with her bear mom, Melissa was preserved under observation. Three months after ~ the murder, investigators learned that she to be the beneficiary of she husband’s $400,000 life insurance allowance policy. They likewise discovered that the young widow was currently dating. Red flags sprang up. 

However, Sgt. Ron Elges, the the Douglas ar Sheriff’s Office, stated that Melissa never inquired about the insurance money and also didn’t seem come care about the payout. In spite of early suspicions, focus on Melissa subsided. She to be cleared together a suspect.

In an interview v “Killer Motive” host Troy Roberts, the soft-spoken Melissa defined that she saw other males shortly ~ Ben’s death since despite every little thing she wanted “a regular life.” If she didn’t try to choose up the piece then, she said, she “probably never ever would.” 

Five months into Ben Oxley’s murder, a killer was still top top the loose. Investigators rotate their fist to Dawn Oxley, whose connection with the victim was complicated. After your divorce, she’d shed custody that Alyssa and had to pay child support. There to be a flow of poor blood.

As they very closely scrutinized Dawn’s case that she and also James, who had actually a lab sheet, had been with each other on the night of the murder, investigators uncovered holes in your claims about being at residence all night watching films. Surveillance video from a 7-Eleven verified James in the store. Their alibis were false.


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Detectives strategically turned increase the warmth on Dawn and James. Lock trailed them for 6 months and also let them understand they were doing it. Each time James was busted for a young infraction favor stealing cigarettes that was another chance to question him about Ben’s murder.

Despite months of “hardball tactics,” investigators stated James never cracked. Dawn, however, was one more story. She reached out to police and said she was prepared to spill about her ex-husband’s slaying. Officials detailed that she was intoxicated once she involved talk. 

She admitted the she’d expressed anger about her relationship with she ex-husband, however said she never directly asked James to death him. The reality that Dawn to be inebriated as soon as she said this story tainted the testimony and made it possibly unreliable, though.

But in November 2009, a sober Dawn seized an additional chance to overview her story of Ben’s murder. She was arrested because that a DUI and had been in jail for 2 weeks — no cigarettes, no alcohol, no reality-clouding factors. 

The same month, Dawn’s 16-year-old boy from a ahead marriage, Devin, told investigators that he’d heard his mom tell James the she wanted Ben dead. 

With just circumstantial evidence against Dawn, prosecutors made a deal: She’d acquire to to walk if she testified versus James. 

It was prefer “making a resolve the devil,” Ben’s brothers Billy told “Killer Motive.” 

After James learned that Dawn was testifying against him, that revealed just how deeply involved Dawn was in the murder. She’d drawn a map that Ben’s house so he’d recognize where to go to execute him. James included another chilling revelation: Dawn had actually asked him to additionally kill Melissa, yet after shooting a bullet into Ben’s head, James claimed he couldn’t traction the trigger again.

On march 16, 2012, the pled guilty to first-degree murder. He to be sentenced come life without parole.

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Prior to his conviction, Dawn was arrested in march 2011 for entailing her 15-year-old daughter indigenous a previous marital relationship in multiple drug transactions, follow to “Killer Motive.” She was sentenced come 90 months in prison and was released in 2014. 

To learn an ext about the case, clock “Killer Motive,” airing Saturdays at 6/5c on occupychristmas.org, or stream illustration on occupychristmas.org.